April 20, 2021 By Christina Santucci
A trio of Asian-American women are teaming up to lead a solidarity bike ride against racist violence through the streets of Queens Saturday.
Longtime cyclists – Helen Ho, Carolyn Tran and Julie Won – organized the event, called Bike for Justice. Ho is a co-founder of The Biking Public Project, which aims to expand advocacy for underrepresented bicyclists including women, people of color and delivery cyclists.
Tran and Won are both City Council candidates. Tran is vying for Danny Dromm’s seat, and Won is running to replace Jimmy Van Bramer. Both the incumbents are term limited.
Organizers said the event aims to build solidarity within the AAPI community, as well as with other groups led by women of color and those that advocate against racial violence such as Black Lives Matter. They plan to acknowledge all the racially-motivated “needless tragic deaths of the last year.”
The meetup for the 10-mile ride is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Queensbridge Park in Long Island City, and organizers plan to start at 2:30 p.m. The public is invited to participate.
“In the aftermath of the recent hate crimes against AAPI women… the cyclists in our community are once again taking action to demand accountability from law enforcement and advocate for community led public safety,” Won said in a statement.
Ho said she wanted to keep the route for Saturday’s ride a mystery but said that it would end in a Queens neighborhood known for delicious Asian food.
“I think that things have been pretty tough for the AAPI community,” Ho said. “We were the first community affected at the beginning of the pandemic – with a lot of people receiving misinformation and boycotting Chinese and Asian restaurants.”
Organizers also wanted to strongly speak out against rising hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the city – as well as recent mass shootings in Atlanta and a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, where AAPI community members have been killed.
“With this ride, we hope to highlight the intersection of transportation justice and racial justice. For too long car-centric infrastructure has ravaged communities of color, polluting our air and dividing our communities,” Won said. “Saturday, we ride in solidarity with victims of racial injustice and in pursuit of a safer, more connected and more welcoming city.”
Tran’s eight-year-old daughter Makana – who is pictured on a poster for the ride – will help to lead Saturday’s event. Ho, Tran and Makana cycled with Street Riders NYC – a weekly Black Lives Matter protest – over the summer.
Ho described Saturday’s event as the first group cycling ride in the city led by AAPI women – since the Tour de Queens, which she helped start in 2008.
The Bike for Justice event is geared to cyclists of all skill levels.
“We wanted to make it really friendly. It’s not a bike ride race. We are not going to leave anyone behind,” Ho said. “All are welcome.”
Ho said she considers cycling – as well as riding in a group – to be therapeutic.
“Trauma also lives in the body,” she said. “This is something that our communities really need to address as well.”
There is no registration required for the ride, and those interested in participating are asked to wear yellow. The group will meet at Queensbridge Park, located at Vernon Boulevard and 41st Avenue.